That can of Coke might cost a bit more in the coming days.
Mayor Jim Kenney spoke out to clarify rumors about a soda tax proposal, confirming that he will seek a 3 cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks, the Inquirer reported.
Kenney will pitch the tax in his budget speech Thursday. He believes 3 cents per ounce would generate $400 million in tax revenues for the city over the next five years.
If limited to city residents, that would require 1.5 million Philadelphians guzzling a nauseating 13.3 billion ounces of sugary beverages during that time period — or approximately one billion cans of Coke, at 740 cans per person. But tourists and visitors are sure to pop back a Dr. Pepper or two as well.
Kenney told the Inquirer the projected tax revenues from a soda tax would get split up with $256 million for universal pre-K, $56 million toward Kenney's $300 million plan for parks, rec centers and libraries; $26 million for city pensions, $23 million for a green jobs plan proposed by Council president Darrell Clarke, and $39 million into creating "community schools," another project strongly favored by Clarke.
Customers would not pay the soda tax, but distributors would and could potentially increase in-store prices to make up for lost profits.
The American Beverage Association (ABA) and Teamsters previously opposed efforts to bring a soda tax to Philly pitched by Mayor Nutter. As a councilman, Kenney also opposed the soda tax.
"The soda tax is an old idea that has been rejected in the past for good reason," the American Beverage Association said in a statement responding to Kenney's proposal. "Philadelphians have been burdened year after year with tax increases and a new tax on soda would just be another tax on hard-working Philadelphia residents and neighborhood businesses. Philadelphia's beverage companies have deep roots in the community and provide thousands of good-paying jobs in the city. We are committed to continuing to work with city leaders to support a strong community that is a great place to live and work for everyone."